Category Archives: Student Projects

The Unreliable Narrator in Hitchcock Films

This paper focuses on the use of Hitchcock’s unreliable narrators particularly in the films, The Lodger (1927), Stage Fright (1950), and Psycho (1960). It explains the use of an unreliable narrator and how Hitchcock used it and developed it in his time as a director and producer. The paper also argues that despite the fact all three films use the same technique to create complex plot twists, each time it is used, Hitchcock uses the idea in a completely new and unexpected way in order to keep the audience guessing and entertained.

In the film The Lodger, Hitchcock creates an unreliable narrator by choosing to conceal information until the very end of the film. Without all of the facts it is easy to believe that “the Lodger,” Jonathon, is the antagonist, however after a carefully timed reveal it appears that it is not the case.

Stage Fright is the most popular and widely known use of the unreliable narrator. Here a character provides a false flashback, directly giving the audience fake information which goes unrefuted until the end of the film when the antagonist reveals he was lying all along to avoid going to jail.

Finally, Psycho, one of Hitchcock’s later films takes the idea to a whole new disturbing level. The reason not all information is given to the audience is because the antagonist legitimately believes what he is saying. As far as he is concerned he is simply the victim in the situation. This means that Hitchcock left no clues for the audience to discover who the murder was on their own.

Finally, I will directly compare and contrast all three films and how Hitchcock’s style and use of this idea has evolved over his career.

Marnie

Hitchcock’s 1964 film, Marnie, is quite different from his other films in that it focuses more on psychology and Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, like Hitchcock’s other film, Spellbound.  This paper argues that in this film Hitchcock uses the character of Marnie, the character of Bernice(Marnie’s mother), and the process of “curing” Marnie to convey different aspects of psychology and Freudian psychoanalytical theory.  Hitchcock in this film uses the character of Marnie to show Freud’s theory that traumatic early childhood memories can indeed impact a person’s development and their adult mental state. Hitchcock uses the character of her mother, Bernice, to show the effect a mother can have on her child and how she added to Marnie’s condition.  Keeping the incident hidden for most of her life, teaching her daughter to hate men, and not being able to show her daughter compassion all attributed to Marnie’s disturbed mental state as an adult.  Lastly, I will show how Hitchcock used two integral scenes to show how psychotherapy works and how to cure a person who has a repressed memory.  This paper argues that all these things together show the different ways Hitchcock tried to convey different aspects of psychoanalytical theory and psychology in his films.

miguel perez Abstract

Miguel Perez

Abstract
This paper is going to focus on Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Lady Vanishes. This paper will cover influences in the film to the different design elements Hitchcock used. Hitchcock has produced dozens of films through his carrier; however The Lady Vanishes is uniquely different from his other films. The first texts cover the early days in Hitchcock’s cinematographical experimentation and his fondness to certain techniques. This early cinematography covers his experimentation with camera techniques and how they were influential in his later films. In addition, I will cover the plot devices that are used in the film and different phobias that Hitchcock used in the film along with their significance. The film The Lady Vanishes is rife with basic elements that Hitchcock translates into later films. The texts surmise how these elements influenced Hitchcock work.
The reminder of the texts encompasses both feminism influence in The Lady Vanishes and future Hitchcock films. The text also covers the McGuffins and the small mistakes that Hitchcock has in The Lady Vanishes. The intent of this is not to bash Hitchcock; it is merely showing that sometimes his experimentation with film techniques while cool and innovative can sometimes get away from him.

Abstract: North by Northwest

My paper argues that in the film North by Northwest, the leading man, Roger Thornhill, develops into a more well-rounded, mature individual in three major stages. Roger Thornhill’s character development is influenced by three major catalysts: being mistaken for George Kaplan, meeting Eve Kendall, and the Professor’s revelation over the true nature of the situation Thornhill has become embroiled in. North by Northwest provides insight into Hitchcock’s movie-making process by revealing connections between North by Northwest, Hitchcock’s earlier film, The 39 Steps, and John Buchan’s novel, The 39 Steps. The paper also provides clues as to why Cary Grant was chosen to play the role of Roger Thornhill and insight into Hitchcock’s personality. The film contains familiar motifs like the blonde female lead, innocent man being pursued, and the incompetence of the police. This is Hitchcock’s only film in which the female and male leads are clearly married by the end of the film. My paper emphasizes how Thornhill’s growing love and dependence on Eve Kendall allowed him to overcome his myriad of faults and become a more complete person in the process.

Analysis of the Technical and Thematic Aspects in Rope

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film, Rope, is based on the 1924 case of Leob and Leopold, two university students and perceived lovers, who murdered a fourteen year old boy named Bobby Franks. They were students of Nietzchean philosophy which emphasizes the “will to power” as the chief motivating force of society. They set out to commit the “perfect murder”, and Hitchcock was intrigued with this concept.  During this time however, the idea of homosexuality was a sort of taboo, but Alfred Hitchcock knew that the psychological suggestion of the perfect murder, tied in with the suggestion of homosexuality would be enough to cause a stir among audiences. This created a voyeuristic view into the lives of these two murderers, which raised the stakes for the film as a whole. As well as dealing with the societal view at the time, Rope was an experimental film. It was thought to be a film shot uninterrupted with cuts or edits. There were found to be ten cuts of film, hidden as foreground objects filled the screen. Rope is based upon the explorative examinations of emotional content and psychological conflict which parallels with the technology of its time.

Monstrous Mothers: The Mother/Son Relationships in “North by Northwest” and “Psycho”

Abstract

North by Northwest and Psycho, though seemingly very different films, contain a number of common Hitchcockian themes, such as the presence of a mother-figure whose sanity and moral integrity is questionable at best. This paper discusses the similarities and differences of the mothers in these classic films, as well as the connections to Hitchcock’s childhood present in both films. The personalities and actions of both the sons and the mothers are analyzed in the context of their own films, then compared to those of their counterparts from the other picture. Additionally, the relationships between the mothers and sons are investigated, revealing the dysfunctionality of their relationships. In North by Northwest, the mother is excessively controlling and superficial, while in Psycho, the mother is merely a murderous side effect of the antagonist’s growing insanity. These maladjusted bonds, as well as the antagonistic nature of both mothers (though each expresses this trait in a vastly different way than the other), are compared with the similarly abnormal relationship which Hitchcock supposedly shared with his own mother during his childhood.

Abstract: The Man Who Knew Too Much

In the film The Man Who Knew Too much (1956), Hitchcock uses the element of sound throughout the movie to create and enhance the feeling of suspense in his audience. Though he was known for his visual style, he also respected and understood the importance of the auditory element in his films, especially this particular film. Sound in film can include many things like music, sound effects, vocal reactions, and silence. The Albert Hall Scene and the song “Que Sera Sera” are two exmaples in the movie of where music is used to create and amplify suspense. Both the content and the way these selections are portryed influence the level of suspense created. The main plot also revolves around the musical selection that is played in Albert Hall and also the sound effect of a gun shot. Also, lack of sound can be just as effective if not more effective in creating suspense than sound itself. Sound effects and vocal reactions of the actors can also influence the audience into feeling suspense depending on the way Hitchcock used them.

Abstract

A plot focusing on two leads, one male and one female, and their relationship is a very classic cinema structure, and one which clearly appears in North by Northwest‘s focus on Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill and Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall.   Even outsides of the focus on the relationship between Kendall and Thornhill, North by Northwest‘s plot is clearly derivative of earlier Hitchcock films, such as The 39 Steps, The Wrong Man, and Strangers on a Train.  Despite these lack of originality in terms of Plot, North by Northwest is made complex and thematically rich by the two main characters.  Both Kendall and Thornhill being viewed as objects of lust generates a complexity in the role of gender stereotypes in the films, with Grant’s objectification breaking the male stereotype and Kendall’s supporting female stereotypes.  Kendall’s role as a female spy using seduction as an espionage technique also creates an interesting theme of women taking charge of their lives in terms of employment and sexuality, which relates the film to political events in the women’s liberation movement around the time of the film’s release.  Overall, this paper focuses on analyzing how the two main characters allow North by Northwest to transcend its conventional plot structure and become more thoughtful and thematically meaningful.

Frenzy

Alfred Hitchcock’s childhood was not a normal one. With an abusive father and an overbearing mother, he grew up to be an anxious, sadistic and misogynistic man. These qualities that he developed are shown clearly in many of his movies including Frenzy, which is often referred to as his last masterpiece. While creating this movie, Hitchcock wanted to make it as controversial as he possibly could. Released in 1972, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy shocked audiences around the world. This was not an accident on the part of the filmmaker. He was extremely pleased when the film received an R-rating in America, his first to be given such an adult rating. His usual motifs are present in the film but with a more provocative twist. The Hitchcock blonde plays very sexualized part in the movie with her underwear showing during one scene. At another point, a man takes his pants off in front of the camera, showing that Hitchcock was playing with the censors, pushing them to their limits just to show that he could. My paper will explore the psychology and the motivation behind this world-famous filmmaker’s desire to push all the censors with Frenzy.

Frenzy

Considered the last Hitchcock masterpiece and the director’s penultimate film, Frenzy is often described as being one of Hitchcock’s most visceral, disturbing films. However, this paper argues that the violent nature of the film is not the only aspect of the film that makes it so notable, but rather that it contains a message concerning the relation of power, ignorance, and the rise of moral destitution. By analyzing the differing relationships between several of the characters based on Michel Foucault’s theories of sexuality and power, this paper will reveal several key instances of ignorance that ultimately led to the demise of a character and the continued increase in power of the primary antagonist. This paper also argues for Hitchcock’s complete control over the audience and his own characters through the use of techniques such as dramatic irony and instances of choosing when to show violence and when to avoid confrontation. This paper argues that the theories applied to this film are the most appropriate when discussing this sexually charged and virulent film in a manner fitting with that of scholarly literature.